Black’s Law Dictionary defines an administrator as “a person to whom letters of administration, that is, an authority to administer the estate of a deceased person, have been granted by the proper court. They resemble an executor, but, being appointed by the court, and not by the deceased.”


“[p]roperty of all kinds, real and personal, tangible or intangible…which belong to any person…” Examples of assets include cash, stocks, bonds, investments, properties, businesses, or anything else owned by a person that has economic value. Assets may range from obvious real property or jewelry to more obscure assets like patents or copyrights.


Merriam Webster defines a beneficiary as “one that benefits from something.” In the context of an estate Black’s Law Dictionary defines a beneficiary as “someone for whose benefit a trust is created.”


Black’s Law Dictionary defines creditor as “a person to whom a debt is owing by another person, called the debtor.”


A decedent is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “a deceased person; one who has lately died. Etymologically the word denotes a person who is dying, but it has come to be used in law as signifying any deceased person, (testate or intestate,) but always with reference to the settlement of his estate or the execution of his will.”


According to Black’s Law Dictionary an estate is  “…totality of assets and liabilities of decedent, including all manner of property, real and personal, choate or inchoate, corporeal or incorporeal.” In layman’s terms, an estate includes the sum of a person’s assets (cash, investments, property, and businesses) minus all of the person’s liabilities (debts owed). After death, the decedent’s estate may be evaluated by the courts through the probate process.


Black’s Law Dictionary defines executor as “a person appointed by a testator to carry out the directions and requests in their will, and to dispose of the property according to their testamentary provisions after his decease.”


Merriam Webster defines grief as “deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement.” For more information and resources about grief visit our Health & Wellness page.


Merriam Webster defines an heir as “one who inherits or is entitled to inherit property.”


Black’s Law Dictionary defines probate as “the legal process that officially proves the validity of a will. This includes an inventory of the decedent’s property, resolving all debts and claims, and distribution of the decedent’s estate.” For more information visit our Wills & Probate page.


Black’s Law Dictionary defines a liability as “any obligation to repay economic value.” Examples of liabilities may include credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, or any other obligations that are owed.


Merriam Webster defines life insurance as “insurance providing for payment of a stipulated sum to a designated beneficiary upon death of the insured.”


According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “Representation is the act of one person representing or standing in the place of another; and he who so represents or stands in the place of another is termed his “representative.”


Black’s Law Dictionary defines testate as “one who has made a will; one who dies leaving a will.” One who dies without a will would be considered “intestate”.


Merriam Webster defines a will as “a legal declaration of a person’s wishes regarding the disposal of his or her property or estate after death.”